‘Radical individualism’ cited

Here is an additional comment made by a bishop from Kenya from the AAC’s “Plano West” conference:
‘Radical individualism’ cited
“Bishop Joseph Wasonga of the Diocese of Maseno West in Kenya received a standing ovation when he addressed the gathering.
“We know we need to walk hand in hand with you as you bring the light of the Gospel to your country,” he said amid cheering and shouting. “We will not receive money from anybody not acknowledging the authority of Scripture and that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”

That’s fine, except very few deny the authority of scripture or the Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life.” Some do, yes, but what the bishop means is that if anyone disagrees with his interpretation of scripture (or the theological tradition he adheres to), then they do not hold to the authority of scripture. There is no possible difference in scriptural interpretation allowed, which is quite contrary to 500 years of Anglican tradition. In fact, it is a denial of the Anglican ethos to demand a single, enforced dogma of scripture – we are not the Roman Church and we do not have a magisterium in Anglicanism. Yet, these groups of Anglicans demand a redefinition of Anglicanism to conform to their particular perspective.
“No part of the Body of Christ is allowed to make a unilateral decision that affects the whole Body of Christ, that creates disunity and schism and we cannot say we are working together.”
If the bishop truly believes this, then he must agree that Anglicanism is completely illegitimate because the Church of England was created unilaterally against the entire Body of Christ – the Roman and Eastern Church. He must also agree that Protestantism is completely contrary to the will of God, because it too continues to fracture through schism by taking positions that are not determined by the entire Body of Christ.
“We are all members of the Body of Christ and we must be subject to the lordship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Absolutely. He means, however, that to submit to the lordship of Christ means we must all agree with him and his theological position. Does he mean we must have one world church under one-world ruler? Do they honestly advocate such a solution? Under whom should all Christians worldwide submit? The Roman Pope? The Orthodox Metropolitan? Someone to the liking of the bishop and the AAC?
“We are not to conform to culture, to tribalism, to racialism, or the radical individualism found in the West.”
Again, I absolutely agree. Yet, the position of the Episcopal Church decided in Convention (the only place where such position can be decided according to the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church USA) is contrary to our current American culture. The majority of our culture is opposed to homosexuality, opposed to the blessing of same-sex unions, opposed to same-sex marriage, opposed to partnered gay people being ordained priests, and on and on. The position taken by the Episcopal Church is absolutely contrary to our culture, yet the bishop’s and the AAC’s claim is that by taking such a position the ECUSA has capitulated to the culture.
I also say that within the conservative Church a capitulation to the culture has occurred in terms of materialism, individualism, gluttony, and pride. Does the Church condemn divorce and raise millions of dollars to battle the evil and anti-family results of heterosexual divorce? No, because too many heterosexual Christians are participating in this evil and child-destroying activity. The hypocrisy does on and on.


I listened to a message on the Chaplains Office voice-mail yesterday afternoon. It was a request to visit a patient in the ICU. I arrived in the ICU a while later and asked about the patient. I was expecting her to be present, but as the nurse described her situation I realized that she would be completely unaware of my presence. She had just undergone a cranial operation and was still unconscious. I walked into her room and saw all the equipment, the ventilator, four IV’s containing various solutions, the bandage around her head with blood stains visible, her swollen eyes – I wondered what in the world I could do.
I did all I could do, all that a chaplain could do in a situation like that. I spoke to her and explained that I realized she could probably not her me. Probably, because I know of too many examples of patients that seemed completely unresponsive or unaware only to find out later that they did hear, they were aware in ways we could not have realized. Anyway, to explained who I was and said that I would pray for her. I did – several prayers. Then, I read to her a number of Psalms, beginning with the 23rd. I held her hand.
I do not know whether she heard me or not – probably not. Much of medical literature dealing with spirituality and prayer suggest that it does play a big and verifiable role in healing. I could not deal with the needs of her body. I could only deal with the needs of her soul, and I did all that I knew how to do. I pray that the prayers and scripture read aloud fed her soul.
I ended up not being able to visit my assigned floors yesterday. After visiting the patient in ICU I went to the family lounge to jot down some notes. I found a woman watching a soap opera and one thing lead to another. For the next hour and a half I spent talking with this woman about her aunt, who was also in ICU. We went to the aunt’s bedside and prayed. The aunt suffered a stroke on Saturday, and while you could not tell she was aware from her face, she could respond by squeezing our hands. I held her hand, I prayed with her, I read to hear, and prayed again. She squeezed my hand at various times throughout. The connection was made, regardless of what we saw in her face.

Every household

The “Plano West” conference ended last week. ENS (Episcopal News Service) reported on the meeting and quoted Anderson:

Anderson predicted times will get harder before they get better, and advised participants to stockpile diocesan and parish directories.
“There may come a time when the AAC chapter in your diocese may need to do direct mail into every home in the diocese, when they may need to replicate the local bishop’s power to place a message in every living room,” he advised participants.

For all the rhetoric from the AAC (American Anglican Council) and the Anglican Communion Network (Network of Anglican Communion Diocese and Parishes) that they are a part of the Episcopal Church USA and will faithfully remain so, with the glaring omission of a pledge to abide by the Canons of the Church, statements like those above simply confound these statements.
Because the elected leadership of a Diocese may not agree with the AAC or the Network and thus implement their policies and theology, then the AAC must go around the duly elected leaders and attempt to force their views by sidetracking the elected leaders with direct mail appeals. They are attempted to deny and usurp the authority of the Bishop by appealing to church members in the pews directly. The problem is that the Episcopal Church is not a congregational church – it is episcopal! It is a church of Bishops, and if the AAC attempts to force their views upon the mainstream church in this way they will be violating traditional Anglican understanding of the episcopate, authority, the diocesan structure, and the Canons of the Episcopal Church.
As much as they claim to be the true expression of the Anglicanism and of the faith handed down, they violate the very core of the Anglican ethos that calls all to wrestle with issues but remain together, to allow differences of theological opinion yet remain faithful to one another. Additionally, they are attempting to undo the very ancient organizational structure of the Church catholic and Anglicanism.
Their goal, as stated in the leaked memo months ago, is to usurp the structure of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA and establish themselves as head of the Church structures. They want to do the same as ultra-conservatives did in the Southern Baptist Convention years ago when they took control of church structures and expelled moderates and liberals.